UN urges Somali leaders to chart way forward on 2021 polls

The United Nations office in Somalia has called on the country’s leaders to reach consensus on a way forward on holding a universal vote as early as March 2021.

In a statement issued in Mogadishu on Sunday, the UN lauded the National Independent Electoral Commission (NIEC) chairperson Halima Yarey for presenting electoral options to realize direct voting for Somalis. 

“Now that NIEC chairperson has presented electoral options, the UN in Somalia urges broad consultation among Somali political leaders to reach consensus on a way forward,” said the UN. 

It said the planned three-day meeting of the national government and the Federal Member States which is slated for early July is a good next step for the leaders to agree on the electoral process.

The UN statement comes after the poll body said on Saturday it will not be possible to hold elections this year due to technical and logistical issues including the security situation in the country. 

Halima Yarey, chairperson of NIEC, said the poll body requires 13 more months to prepare a credible poll where Somalis will have an opportunity to take part in ‘one person, one vote’ election for the first time since 1969.